Anxiety about getting anxiety

Monday, February 20, 2012


You want an honest-to-goodness assessment of what my weekend was like?

It was absolutely retched.

And it’s entirely my own fault.

Friday night after coming home from Indy and passing out in bed for a quick nap, Clay and I headed out to the grocery store to buy food for the upcoming weekend. Napping in the middle of the day/early evening usually makes me feel slightly nauseous, but on Friday I was too sleepy to care about the consequences. So I wandered around the grocery store feeling a little sick and needing a glass of water, but I ignored the feeling until I could get home and put some food in my stomach. However, after eating some soup and drinking a homemade smoothie, I started to get an overwhelming sense of fullness in my belly. I was so uncomfortable I could barely sit still and I ended up pacing the living room, hoping I could encourage my stomach to digest faster.  I had no idea what brought on the pressure in my stomach because I really didn’t eat that much, but not being able to get comfortable triggered the worst panic attack I’ve ever had in my entire life. 

I’ve had anxiety attacks in the past, but they usually require nothing more than a few minutes of Clayton rubbing my back to calm me down. But this was different. This was horrible. I convulsed and shook for hours … literally, hours. I was so sick of the pressure rising in my stomach that I thought I needed to throw up and I actually ended up dry heaving several times. Ugh, it was awful.

After a few hours of crying and shaking, I was begging Clayton to take me to the hospital. Why? I don’t know. I figured they had some good drugs over there that could slow my heart rate and relax my body since I was clearly failing at doing that myself. Clayton refused, insisting I didn’t need to go to the emergency room and that I just needed to lie down. 

He gave me a Tylenol PM and I laid on the living room floor watching Shipping Wars on the Discovery Channel and zoning in and out of stress dreams about Twitter (weird, right?) until about 5:30 a.m. when Clay finally drug me upstairs.

I cannot even begin to describe how traumatic that whole ordeal was. And I did it to myself … for no real reason. My stomach felt so uneasy that I convinced myself I needed to throw up and triggered an anxiety attack. In retrospect, it’s so lame and pathetic, but at the time I was more scared than I had ever been in my life. I legitimately thought I wasn’t going to make it through the night. When you’re experiencing anxiety, there is no such thing as logic. Your stressors don’t even have to make sense.

And I paid for that anxiety attack for the rest of the weekend. The dry heaving wreaked havoc on my muscles and my back, shoulders and neck were too sore to move the next morning. My heart rate was elevated for long that it hurt to breathe. My stomach was queasy and pissed off at me, so it got its revenge by giving me absolutely no appetite for the next two days. Over the course of the weekend I ate 2 bagels and that was it. I tried to run on Sunday afternoon, but my 6 miles were painful and slow because I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in almost 36 hours.

I was a mess.

So guess what? Now I have anxiety about getting anxiety.

Your mind is a powerful thing and I was so focused on feeling sick and uncomfortable, that I continued to feel that way. You can most definitely make yourself by just thinking about it. And that’s exactly what I did. And I ended up ruining not only my weekend, but my husband’s too because he stayed awake with me and took me on a drive at 3:00 a.m. on Friday night to see if that would distract me. He’s an angel, but I put him through hell. So on top of being ashamed and embarrassed of what I did to myself, I feel guilty for raking Clayton through it, too. 

Has something like that ever happened to any of you? What did you do to cope with it? What can I do to prevent it from happening again? I’m scared that I have the capability of doing something like that to myself.

Remember how I talked about needing to meditate? Yeah. 

Someone please leave a comment reassuring me that at least someone out there had a good weekend.

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13 comments

  1. Wow, that's intense. I have to say, I've had certain situations like...meeting family, getting on roller coasters, especially after reading this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_Coaster

    BUT, nothing like just having a full stomach. I have however, made myself nervous with other things, so I know the feeling of having a full blown, if I just puke I'll feel better moment.

    Have you tried the old paper bag trick? Usually when you're hyperventilating, ready to puke and/or faint, the extra CO2 can help.

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    1. Never tried the paper bag trick. It almost seems to cliche' for me to believe that it actually works. But then again, it's popular for a reason. I'll definitely make sure I have one for the future IF (I'm hoping it doesn't happen again) I need it.

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  2. Actually, when I'm suffering from anxiety, I have panic attacks on pretty much a weekly basis. (I've had several since the beginning of the year.) The thing that scares me the most is that I hyperventilate, and I have a REALLY hard time calming that down (not having any paper bags in the house). You are definitely not alone!

    One of the things I do first and foremost is try to take really long, slow, deep breaths. Focus on sucking in as much air as you can, and challenging yourself to breathe it out as slowly as possible. Another thing I try is to pace around my house or my room - the activity kind of releases some of the energy my body is trying to use to freak out, so I feel like it helps. One of the last things I try is to do something like playing solitaire - it helps me to focus on one single activity that's outside of what I'm thinking about.

    And finally, since you asked, I had a really nice weekend - I relaxed, I went to the indoor go-kart place on Saturday to tried something new, and I DIDN'T WORK! :D

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    1. I'm glad someone had a good weekend! ha ha! Good for you!

      Clay tried to get me to take slow deep breaths, but filling my body with air only further agitated my stomach and I started to hyperventilate. I. Was. A. Wreck.

      Glad these "attacks" are more common than I thought!

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  4. Well you know me. I am an almost daily panic attack sufferer. The best thing you can do it change your thought direction. Don't think about how your body is acting or any "what ifs." The fastest way I change my thought process is by picking up a book or a video game controller. If you're involved in that you won't think about your body and it will just end up calming down before you realize it. But the biggest part is the breathing. In through your mouth; count to four. Out through your nose; count to four. Do this repeatedly for at least 5 minutes doing nothing but focusing on the air moving in and out of you. Swear to God it works!!!

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    1. I knew you struggled with this, so I'm glad you left a comment. I'm going try the breathing technique as soon as I feel one coming on. And for some reason, I get more freaked out if they happen at night. Does that happen to you?

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    2. No actually I handle them better at night now. It took me 4 years to convince myself I won't die during a panic attack, but now that I know that I won't die I handle them better at night mostly because I am safe in my own home and my own room and won't embarrass myself in front of an audience if I "freak out."

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  5. This happened to me once! I was alone in my apartment sophmore year and I was just lying in bed when my heart started going crazy and I literally thought I was going to die. I thought I was having a heart attack so I went to the hospital but it was just anxiety. I think we need to do some more yoga, girl.

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    1. Yes! Let's get to a yoga (non hot, please) ASAP! I want to go back. That really worked for me!

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  6. I too suffer from anxiety. I take celexa now and it literally has changed my life. When I would have an attack I would start to sweat, feel dizzy and disconnected from my body. I would get hart palpitations and felt like I was having a heart attack. One thing that always worked was to focus on a spot on the wall, breathe deep and slow, and count by any given number, like by 7’s. The act of concentrating on the multiples of any one number helps to distract you and take your mind away from what’s going on thus allowing you to calm down sooner. It really helped me and I hope it may help you.

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    1. I take Celexa as well. It was working really well for a while but now not so much. (however I have recently had some very serious life changing events that have set off new anxiety) I still take it and it helps me survive a "normal" day, but I've also been given a very low dose of Xanax to take if I'm having a really bad day. It's been so helpful! It takes the edge off!

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  7. I have this happen too. I have panic attacks about the weirdest shit. Like my stomach making crazy noises in meetings FREAKS me out. So because Im anxious about it happening it actually causes it to happen. Weird huh? Usually if I am home and I get anxiety I sit in the bathroom with the shower running because the sound calms me down. I also have 3 inhalers though and that helps :/ Focusing on it does make it worse. Sometimes I just stop and start praying and self talk helps too!! Positive self talk that is.. like "Im NOT gunna die" lol.

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